Posted: Tuesday, September 15, 2009 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: My 24-year-old daughter, “Dawn,” still lives at home. The problem is my husband, her stepfather. “Jim” likes to control everything Dawn does. She’s in the process of looking for an apartment, and Jim wants to decide where she lives and what she does once she moves out. He doesn’t trust anything she does or says because she has lied to us in the past.
Jim has two children from his first marriage, and he didn’t do this with them. They don’t have anything to do with him now, so I think he’s overcompensating. This controlling behavior has been going on for quite some time, and the fighting is endless. I know once Dawn gets her own place things will improve. But until then, it’s a battlefield.
I believe we should let our children learn from their mistakes. Jim thinks we need to prevent Dawn from making any. What should I do? — Miserable Mom
Dear Mom: Tell Jim to back off. Dawn needs to get out of the house and live independently, and the sooner you can help her do that the better. Whatever mistakes she makes are learning experiences. Jim may have been uninvolved in the older children’s lives, but he is overinvolved in Dawn’s. He has to stop.
Dear Annie: I’ve been a widow for seven years. My husband was a wonderful man. Our children are grown now and I’m alone.
I have a Ph.D. and a good job. I have lots of friends, and we socialize together and go out dancing. I’m healthy and attractive, fun to be with, have a good figure, enjoy sex, am active in professional and civic organizations, own a lovely home and am financially well off. I’m even a licensed pilot.
My problem? The men I meet do not want to be in a relationship. They just want to have sex. Some are married and pretending to be single. The single men my age are looking for women 20 years younger. Yet most men, even the younger ones, don’t have the energy to keep up with me.
It is discouraging how badly these men behave, and I’m wondering whether it is unique to my area, an older man thing, or what. — Disheartened in Louisiana
Dear Louisiana: It is not unique to any area, and yes, many older men first look for younger women. Still, there are men in your age bracket who are searching for a committed relationship. Make sure you are looking in the right places, and don’t dismiss reliable Internet dating sites. It also sounds like you may be a little overwhelming for some men, so you might want to tone it down a notch and let them get to know you without thinking they must impress you first.
Dear Annie: I lost my husband 11 years ago to a massive heart attack. Like the letter from “Grieving Dad,” my sister was never there for me. At one point, she told me she could not handle my grief and quit speaking to me. She never once asked me to her house for dinner or to a movie. She simply could not be bothered. It interfered with her life and reminded her of her mortality.
I did go for counseling, but it would have been nice not to be shut out of her life. Luckily, I have a sister-in-law who listened and let me cry. All she said was that she loved and cared about me. That helped my healing more than anything else.
I have since volunteered to work in grief counseling. I call those who are grieving just to let them talk. I ask them about their loved ones. I am getting married to a wonderful man who lost his wife to a sudden heart attack three years ago. I do not get upset when he cries. I love him enough to take the time to understand. I wish my sister had, because it destroyed our relationship. — California
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 9.15.09